WINNIPEG – The No. 1 University of Manitoba Bisons topped the No. 2 University of Alberta Pandas 2-1 after Alexandra Anderson fired a long dead-ringer off the draw in overtime on Saturday, Feb. 24 at Wayne Fleming Arena to push the Canada West women's hockey best-of-three semifinal to a deciding game.
Anderson's goal came at just 11:42 in overtime for the winner.
"I got a clean draw to me," said Anderson. "I just shot it and everyone was jumping."
The Pandas took the first game of the series 4-1 on Friday night. The Pandas finished the regular season with a 19-5-4 fourth place record, while Manitoba came into the post-season at 22-5-1, good for first in the conference.
"They (the Bisons) knew we needed to dig down," said Bisons head coach Jon Rempel. "It's a veteran group. They knew what was at stake."
With 19.4 seconds to go in the first, a top-shelf wristshot from Manitoba second-year Sheridan Oswald ping-ponged between the post and crossbar. The rebound popped out to Venla Hovi for another look, but the officials called Oswald's shot a goal. It was assisted by Hovi and Lauryn Keen. The Herd went into the first intermission with a 1-0 lead.
Hovi returned to Saturday's Bison lineup after winning bronze in PyeongChang with Team Finland earlier this past week.
The Pandas tied it 1-1 with 9:48 left in the second when Alexandra Poznikoff fended off Erica Rieder with one hand, and slid the puck through Lauren Taraschuk's five-hole with the other. It was assisted by second-year Taylor Kezama. The goal is Poznikoff's fourth goal in this year's playoffs. She had 23 points to close out the regular season, second in the conference only to her teammate Autumn MacDougall.
Game three will take place on Sunday. The winner will take on the second-place University of Saskatchewan Huskies in the best-of-three Canada West championship series next weekend. The higher seed will host.
The winner will also earn a spot in the U SPORTS National Championships at Western University in London, Ontario in mid-March.
"If you can get through tomorrow, you know, everyone saw what we're capable of doing," said Rempel. "We'll see what happens. Tomorrow will be a tough game."
Puck drop for the deciding game between the Pandas and Bisons is Sunday at 5 p.m. CT at Wayne Fleming Arena. The game can be watched live on canadawest.tv.